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Sunday, January 31, 2016

December/ January Empties: Health, Beauty, Skincare & Makeup!



Time to talk some trash, Today I'm Sharing my health and beauty empties for the month of December and January. I know many of you love empties posts, as do I.  I didn't finish too much for the last two months but enough to share. Some are new products for me and some are staples for me. Read on to see what I'd repurchase. ps. Here is my last empties post if you'd like to see more empties!


Hair & Skin

-Gosh Much More Moist Hair Conditioner- I found this fairly basic for my super frizzy and dry hair. My hair needs something more. This would be a great conditioner for someone with less damaged hair. I love that they are cruelty-free (last I heard).

-Desert Essence Thoroughly Clean Face Wash- Unfortunately I'm having to toss this product and it's still over 1/2 full. It's a decent cleanser for combo-oily skin, but the best before says 9 months after opening and I've actually had it for much longer. Also, it kept clogging at the nozzle (you can probably see all the gunk built up). I think it's because of the coconut oil in it. Every time I try to pump some out it squirts out the back and all over my mirror. I would not purchase again due to the clogging issue. They are also cruelty-free which is great! Note: by the look of the picture of the product on the website where I purchased it, it seems they have changed the nozzle, maybe to prevent the clogging issue.

-Reviva Labs Elastin & Collagen Skin Toner- Anyone who's read any of my previous empties or haul posts is probably already aware that this is one of my holy grail toners. It is so gentle and since I use chemical exfoliants my skin just loves it! My latest bottle of it has a strong scent to it which it's never had before. I really wish they didn't add fragrance to it but I will still repurchase. Also cruelty-free.


Makeup

-Sonia Kashuk Undetectable Cream Bronzer in Warm Tan- Love this! So easy to blend and I would say it's a cream to powder finish. Not too warm or cool toned, I think it's the perfect shade for me (there is one more shade in the line that is darker). I've heard this compares to Chanel's cream bronzer! If I ever need/want another cream bronzer this is the one I would buy. Also, cruelty-free.

-Jordana Best Lash Extreme- I love this mascara. I found that I got similar results with it to Benefit's They're Real mascara. The only thing I don't like is that Jordana's is fairly difficult to remove even though it's not waterproof. Love the price at $2.99 and it's cruelty-free. I will definitely repurchase. 

-Elf Luscious Liquid Lipstick in Nude Pink- First, this is not a liquid lipstick at all, it's a gloss. When I first got it I found the texture or finish strange somehow, but it grew on me and now I love to throw it on when I'm out and my lipstick has worn off. I always have it in my purse. Have already repurchased. Cruelty-free and super inexpensive!

-Elf Conditioning Lip Balm in Peaceful Pink- This is definitely conditioning and has a lot of slip to it. It looks more like a lipstick on but with so much slip it ends up all over the place. Due to the strong pigmentation this isn't something you should apply with a finger even though it would seem it was created to be applied that way.  You really need to apply this using a mirror and a lip brush. Too much maintenance for me. I wanted something I could slap on when on the go using my finger. I tried that and then looked in the mirror and I looked like a clown. I would not repurchase although, I do have this in Nude as well to finish up now... We'll see how that one goes. Another cruelty-free product. 

Health


-Nature's Answer Rhodiola- Another product I wont be without. It helps with stress levels and helps prevent early morning wakings for me. I take one per day.

-California Gold Nutrition Daily Vits & Mins- I got a great deal on this so I figured I'd give it a try.  I think they are a good basic multi-vitamin but I'm looking for something special, where I feel a difference, so I would not repurchase. (Currently I'm taking MYKIND multi by Garden of Life and that is going well so far).

-BHI Calming Tablets- These are another repurchase for me. I have been buying these for years. They are a homeopathic composition made to help with insomnia, tension, irritability etc. I always have a bottle by my bedside table. Homoeopathic medicines are great as they do not interact with allopathic medicines. 

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I used up in December and January. I hope to have a lot more for next month! If you have an empties post to share please leave a link, I'd love to come and check it out! 

In Health & Happiness, 
Amy

ps. Come and join the Monday Makeup Madness at Fabulous and Fun Life!

This post contains affiliate links


Wednesday, January 27, 2016

DIY Multi-Purpose Makeup Brush Spot Cleaner



I just ran out of my makeup brush spot cleanser and sanitizer, which is a DIY that I have been making and using for years now. Since I'm making a new batch, I thought I'd share it with you in case any of you are looking for a recipe to make your own. It's super easy and it only takes a few simple ingredients.

Since it contains alcohol and it disinfects, I also use it to wipe down my cell phone daily (since our cell phones usually end up covered in germs by the end of each day), I also use it to sanitize my hair brushes.

What you will need:




  1. distilled or purified water
  2. a spray bottle
  3. rubbing alcohol
  4. your favourite (or any) facial toner 
  5. (optional) your favourite essential oil  hint: tea tree is a good one!


How to mix:
Fill 1/2 the bottle with rubbing alcohol, fill 1/4 of the bottle with distilled or purified water, next fill the last 1/4 of the bottle with the facial toner of your choice. Optional: add a few drops of essential oil like tea tree oil. Screw the top on and shake it to mix. You can label the bottle if you choose to. I don't bother as I use it everyday and it's got it's own spot in my bathroom. Now it's ready to use!




Here, I have sprayed a tissue with the solution and I'm swiping my makeup brush on it to remove the colour and also sanitize the brush at the same time. If you are using very large brushes you may want to use a small towel. It dries quickly so you can use the brush again or at least it's clean and ready for the next day. This is a great way to clean your brushes in between deep cleanings.




To clean your cell phone I don't recommend spraying the phone directly. Instead, spray a tissue and wipe the entire surface (front and back).




To clean your hair brushes, first remove all the hair, then spray the entire surface with the solution and lay your brush face down to dry.

I'm sure this solution could be used to spot clean so many more items. If you have any ideas of what else this could be used on, please leave a comment below. I love hearing ideas from you guys!


In Health & Happiness
Amy

ps. Come and check out the Monday Makeup Madness over at fabulousandfunlife

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

January Health and Beauty Haul: Makeup, Supplements and More!



I have been placing an order with iHerb pretty much every month for as long as I can remember. This month I ordered some of my must-have items plus a little makeup. I love that iHerb carries health and beauty products (including ELF cosmetics and Real Techniques), it's like a one-stop shop for me.

Here I'll share with you what I ordered this month, with a little info on each product and links where possible.

California Gold Nutrition CoQ10- This isn't my usual brand of CoQ10 but it's on sale for such a great price that I figured I'd give it a try. It's fermented, non-GMO and soy free! I take this for heart health and overall health. I feel that anyone over 40 can benefit from Q10! I take just one a day.

Now Foods Xyliwhite Toothpaste- If you follow my blog, you probably know that this is my favourite fluoride-free toothpaste! It's also SLS free, gluten free, and paraben free! Right now it's on sale for only $1!

Healthy Origins 5-HTP - This is fabulous for mood and sleep. I've read that it's supposed to help reduce cravings and therefore help with weigh loss too. I take 50-100mg if I can't sleep or if I wake and need helping nodding off again.

Nature's Way Vitex- A Woman's supplement used for overall health and balance in a woman's cycle. I cannot take progesterone, even bio-identical, so I take vitex to help raise my progesterone levels. I try to take 2 per day but often only take 1.

Now Foods Evening Primrose Oil- Another great supplement for women. It has naturally occurring GLA (Gamma Linolenic Acid), an omega-6 fatty acid. It's great for our immune system, skin, vascular system, and hormone health. It's also supposed to help with PMS. This supplement also promotes progesterone. This one is non-GMO and Hexane-free! I buy this big-daddy size as it's more cost effective. If I would remember to I'd take 2 a day but I only take one, so this bottle lasts for 250 days!

Elf Eyeshadow Compact in Smokey Eyes- I couldn't resist this palette, it's on sale for a steal! I have this compact in another colour and the pigmentation is just amazing. Elf is Cruelty-free! :D (Note: this one isn't for me.. wink wink)

I hope you enjoyed seeing what I purchased from iHerb this month. I know I love to see what people like to purchase and why. Hopefully you found some of the information helpful too.

If you have never shopped at iHerb before, you can get $5 off your order by using this link (note: this is a referral link and we both benefit if you choose to use it. If you do use it, I do appreciate it very much!)

Please check iHerb's links at the top of their website for fabulous deals under "trials" and "daily deals." 


In Health & Happines
Amy


Monday, January 18, 2016

2016- The Year of Simplicity/ Blog changes

I feel like 2016 will be the year of simplicity, or at least the start of it for me.

If you've visited my website before, you probably notice some changes. I have made some changes to try and simplify the look and feel of it for my readers. I hope you like the changes. I'm sure it will always be a work in progress as most things are. If you have any suggestions on other changes that I could make to improve my blog/website, I'd love to hear your suggestions. So, this is the start of my journey to simplify in 2016, starting with my blog.

It seems like there's a move towards simplicity and/or minimalism these days, I find it interesting and oddly appealing, especially to someone who has always been a bit of a shop-a-holic. The thought of minimalism is appealing and intriguing to me, but I have to be real with myself, I know I'll never be a minimalist. But, I know I can pick up some ideas from it and pare down some. Really, it's been brewing inside me for a while now, the urge to purge. Sometimes the amount of stuff I have drives me crazy and while I am appreciative of everything I have, it can become overwhelming at times. So, I've found myself constantly trying to donate or re-purpose things that I'm able to part with. 

Over the last few months, I've worked on cleaning out my closet and I found that I had to part with my things in baby steps. I was born with some kind of clothing addiction in my jeans genes so that doesn't help the situation. I am aware that I have too much and I find that I feel overwhelmed by it. I also notice how much freer I feel when I have less (notice how much better you feel after a clean out?!). One of my issues is not being able to pass up bargains. I've learned how to sniff out the super deals like a pro, and that hasn't helped me in my quest to reduce my belongings. It feels so great to clean out and create more empty space, but do you ever notice that you then get the urge to fill those spaces with new stuff!? I know I do! The struggle is real, 

Next, I went through all of my beauty products, This was tough too! Anything that's expired is easier to part with of course, but I sure did feel the pain of realizing how much money I wasted! That was a real eye opener, I realized it's time to stop the waste, which I am much more conscious of now.

I've started to tackle everything else in the house which is a huge chore! Anything I don't need or use needs to go. I have already listed many DVDs and books for sale, and some have NEVER been used- what a waste!

Am I the only one? I find myself alternating between feelings of wanting more and wanting less. It's kind of like binging and purging but with things, not food. I notice a lot of people just consume constantly (self included at times-I blame the sales!), And, then there's the minimalists, hats off to them for being able to really simplify and let go of stuff! I feel torn between the two sides, maybe it stems from my love of organization and my love of having new things.

I notice that a lot of my posts are hauls and a lot are declutter posts- polar opposites. Just proving the fight I have going on inside of the desire to have less but then want more! It's a viscous cycle. I see many others doing the same, so I don't think I'm the only one. 

I'm trying to open my eyes to it all, I may not be able to see so clearly through all the sale and clearance signs, but I know that I'm going to find a better balance now and make much more conscious decisions from now on. Less stuff = less stress! 

The bottom line is that it's all just "stuff" in the end, and in the grand scheme of things most of it is not important. But, some nice new clothes and makeup is fun and can make us feel good. I think that if we reduce the amount of stuff we own, we can then think more clearly and focus on the more important things in life. Looking back, I can see how much more prevalent consumerism and attachment to belongings has become over the years passed. Maybe the whole "KonMari" thing triggered the recent movement towards owning less, I've heard so much about her method and her book over this past year. Whatever started it, I think it's a move in the right direction.

If you haven't heard of the KonMari method here is a link to her book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing


Things I will work on to achieve more simplicity:

  • Make more conscious decisions and choices in all areas of life
  • spend less money
  • purchase consciously (eg. Do I already own 10 tops like this? Do I need it?)
  • get rid of what I don't need, don't use or expired items
  • clean out
  • organize
  • donate / give / share
  • consign
  • own less
  • try and use things before they expire
  • spend less time on the computer and more time in real life
  • focus on the important things, not stuff!
  • consider 1 in : 1 out
  • don't save things for "someday"
  • use it or lose it!
  • Mantra: Less IS more
  • ... I may add to this list as I think of more things....


2016


If you have any ideas or suggestions for ways to simplify, please leave me a comment. I can use all the suggestions I can get!

Amy
XX

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

December Health, Beauty / Skincare Haul from iHerb!


I wanted to share this little health and beauty haul with you all, especially because ALL the products contained in the order happen to be staple/must-have items for me. I have been using most of them for years and I will not be without them!  If you see my empties posts you have surely seen these products in those posts. I will provide links to the products if you'd like to read up on them some more.

Healthy Origins Q10- Vital for heart health and I'd say anyone over 40! It's used by all the cells in our bodies. I take one 100mg gel cap per day. Note: I have read many articles that claim that the latest form of Q10 called Ubiquinol, that is much more expensive, is converted to the Ubiquinone form in our stomachs. So, I opt to continue taking the more cost effective form of Q10 called Ubiquinone.

George's Always Active Aloe Mist- I use this morning an night when layering my skin products. It really helps my other products absorb into my skin better. It's very refreshing and healthy for the skin since it's made from pure active aloe vera. It comes out in such a fine mist, that I have saved an empty bottle and re-purposed it to dispense my favourite leave-in hair conditioner. ps. This aloe lasts forever because the mist is so fine!

Reviva Labs Collagen & Elastin Toner- This is hands down my favourite toner ever! It is so soothing to the skin. It has replaced my previous favourite toner by Thayers, which was also alcohol free, but this is MUCH more soothing to my skin. I use Retin-A, so I like to use gentle products. The fact that it contains collagen and elastin can't hurt my aging skin either.

Nature's Answer Rhodiola- This is the best Rhodiola I have tried and I've tried many. Rhodiola is an adaptogen, which helps our bodies deal with stress. This single-handedly stopped me from waking up at 5 AM everyday. I'm guessing my body was spiking the stress hormone cortisol in the morning and this supplement is helping my body deal with any stress. I take one 100 mg capsule daily.

BHI (Previously Heel Homeopathics) Calming Tabs- These are great little homeopathic tabs that are a combination of remedies. Most classic homeopaths don't believe in combination remedies and use only single one's, but I say whatever works. This helps me on many nights with my insomnia when nothing else does. I always have a bottle by the bedside. Homeopathics do not interact with allopathic medications.

Now Foods Xyli-White Cinnafresh Toothpaste- This is a fluoride-free and SLS free toothpaste and the Xylitol is great for oral health. My dental checkups improved since starting this toothpaste years ago, so I've never looked back. It's more expensive than drugstore toothpaste but so worth it. I just make sure to not squeeze out more than I need. I never see it on sale but it happens to be on sale today for only $1! ahhh.. I want to buy a whole box full at that price. It would save me so much $$, but it's one per customer at that price.

Sierra Bees 8 pack of Lip Balms in Tamanu & Tea Tree- This is an iHerb brand and I love all of their Sierra Bees lip balms that I have tried. They have so many types and they are always having some kind of deal on them, so I usually pickup a pack when I see them having a promo. This pack was on promo for only $1!

A tip when shopping on iHerb- always check their "daily deal's" and "trial" links at the top of their website, you can find some really amazing deals there! The daily one's change every 24 hours, sometimes I check daily until I see the deal I can't pass up and then place my order. ;)

If you have never shopped at iHerb before and you would like a $5 coupon, you can use my referral code to get $5 off your first order. The code is AGU725 and you can just enter it during checkout or you can use this link to have it apply automatically.

I hope you enjoyed seeing some of my must have health and beauty products. I'd love to hear what some of your must-have products are!

ps. Come check out the linkup party over at a Fabulous and Fun Life! 

Amy
XX

Monday, January 4, 2016

Elf Illuminating Palette Review with Swatches! Hot or Not!?



I've had my eye on this palette since it came out and I heard some reviews comparing it to the Hourglass Illuminating powders. I have always wanted to try the Hourglass powders but they are not in my current budget. So I didn't have much to lose by getting hold of this Elf Illuminating palette that is supposed to be a dupe. Since I don't own any Hourglass powders or any of their products for that matter, I obviously cannot compare them. However, I saw some comparison swatches from others and they really did look like dupes for one another.

I scooped up this palette for a steal! The palette is only $6 on Elf's website but I searched the Internet for some coupons to use on Elf's website and their checkout system allowed me to stack coupons, so it ended up costing me about $3 USD with FREE shipping! woohoo!




From Elf's website: "This beautiful illuminating palette holds 4 gorgeous complementary shades to mix and match for a custom blended radiance that captures, diffuses, and softens the way light reflects on the skin. The soft-focus powders are great for highlighting around the eyes and on cheekbones to enhance the skin with a luminous effect. Perfect for all skin tones."

The packaging is nice and sleek and it comes with a huge mirror! Like Elf's other new blush and bronzer quads this one also allows for each quadrant to be popped out so you can mix and match with you palettes. I have used all four colours and the top two are my favourites with the upper right, more pinky-toned one being my absolute favourite of the four. The bottom left one just blends in with my skin and the bottom right one would be great for deeper skin tones, or if you want that gorgeous, bronzy J-Lo glow!

I find that all of them provide a beautiful glow to my skin, no chunky glitter (although there is micro glitter that does not show up on my face, but I was able to see all the tiny glitters from the initial swatches on my arm). The powders do not accentuate pores or dryness or any skin imperfections which is huge for me, as I find that most highlighters accentuate at least some of those things and no one wants that. I find that the soft glow that these powders provide are ideal for dry or aging skin, and I should know as I have dehydrated and aging skin.



I took tons of pictures of the swatches and as I've seen in others reviews, they just show up powdery instead of glowy. I tried every lighting, angle, you name it! I promise you that they don't go on powdery. Somehow, once blended, you get a gorgeous glow.

Here are the best shots I could get:





Overall, I am in love with this palette and unless something better comes along I would buy it again and again. I can definitely say that these are my favourite highlighters of all the highlights I have ever tried. Which says a lot seeing as I've tried a ton of highlighters. So, if you want a beautiful soft glow as a highlight, what are you waiting for?! I don't think you'll be disappointed. Personally, I'm obsessed!

Have you tried this? What are your thoughts on it? Do you have any fab budget beauty buys to share?

Ps. Come on over and join the fun at fabulousandfunlife's weekly beauty linkup party!

Amy
XX


Top / Best 9 Instagram Posts of 2015! #2015BestNine



Hi everyone! Since many of you may not follow me on Instagram, I wanted to share with you my top/best 9 posts on Instagram for 2015. After I saw others posting their #2015BestNine on IG, I was able to find out about this cool website that does this calculation of your posts for you and out comes this collage with your top 9 posts for the year. The website is http://2015bestnine.com/.

Ironically, 3 of the nine posts are all the same subject which was called #6byChristmas. It was basically a challenge to finish up 6 beauty products by Christmas (note: I only finished 3 of the 6). The others were a mix of things that included;  a new product release by ELF (review coming soon!), a nail look, an exercise challenge, and a few that were part of beauty challenges that I participated in with a group of other ladies on Instagram.

I hope to share more on Instagram in 2016, and I am looking forward to doing more challenges from health to beauty one's. There are a lot of fun challenges to be found on Instagram, it's a matter of not choosing too many at one time or one's you wont be able to keep up with as some require daily challenges. It takes a lot of time to get pictures you are happy with (I don't have a good camera, so I've been using my phone for now). I have to admit some of the "project pan" or finishing up products challenges are fun and a little addicting  If you're not careful, it can become a little too addicting. I've seen some serious "project panners" out there.

Instagram can be so much fun. I've met a lot of great people there and even won a few giveaways! I find that it can be a real time sucker if I'm not careful though, so I did scale back from posting and doing challenges in the latter part of 2015. Hopefully, I will find a better balance in 2016 as I do want to participate in some fun challenges.. they really are a lot of fun!

If you want to follow me on Instagram my handle is healthandbeautygirl. Let me know you came from my blog, I will follow you back.

I'm looking forward to more fun on IG this year and hopefully meeting some more great people. Hopefully I'll see you around there!

Amy
XX


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